Thursday, December 15, 2011

NUI - Natural User Interface - A Quantum Leap in UX

Natural User Interface (NUI) relates to interfaces that are hidden or that eventually turn invisible as the user keeps using them, or that become an integral part with the environment one operates in.

NUI is based on the natural and common ways by which humans interact with each other and their surroundings. This is done primarily by verbal\audio communication, gestures, movement, expressions and touch.

The samrtphone, tablets and other multi touch screens such as Surface, full body gesture based interaction such as Kinect, and iPhone Siri service serve as great examples of good natural user interface. It is quite impressive to see how the multi-touch screen is the first technical gadget that is so easily used by users of ages raging from 1 to 101.

Yesterday at a very insightful UX event held by Netcraft, Tal Florentin gave an interesting short presentation about Help. Tal talked about how help is to be catered to the user in the optimal way. The conclusion was that it should be given in a way that is not too disruptive, that is able to “know” the goal one wants to reach, to light up the correct path to get there, and to offer its help only when needed.

The video below shows a great example of an interface that shows you the way to your destination in the exact moment you need it.

This neat UI reminded me of the TV series Quantum Leap where in one chapter titled “Pool Hall Blues” Al used his Handlink to help Sam clear the pool table. The Handlink projected the required course needed to place each ball in its pocket.
I did not manage to find the video segment of it, and all I found was this small screen capture images:

The next video is of a real visualization done over a pool table tracking and responding to the balls movement:

The last two videos are actually the main reason for this blog post as they shows how natural a touch screen is also to non-humans users:

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